In-depth: How to stop those annoying robocalls

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The onslaught of robocalls ringing into cell phones keeps getting worse.

The Federal Trade Commission says in 2017, they received over 7 million complaints of unwanted calls.

Now, based on current numbers, 2018 is on track to substantially surpass that.

On Monday, KRON4 shows you how to stop robocalls.

It’s not just you. Americans receive around 150 million robocalls per day.

The average person gets 13 a month.

“Yeah right. You’re not calling about my credit card. You’re a scam,” Noel Rabinowitz told one robocaller.

If you’re like Rabinowitz, who works in San Francisco, it’s more like 13 robocalls a day.

“I feel frustration, violation, a little indignation, a few other ‘ations’ [laughs],” Rabinowitz said. “I mean, it’s fine to send me an email. We are used to that, but my phone? Come on. That’s my personal technology space. Don’t get in there [laughs].” 

Tired of the constant unwanted interruptions, Rabinowitz downloaded the RoboKiller app.

It’s one of many robocall blocking apps, out there.

The Robokiller app is a subscription service that costs $2.50 per month. 

“RoboKiller worked right away for me,” Rabinowitz said. “Today at lunchtime, I got a few calls that came in, and I didn’t have to hear it, be bothered by nonsense. All I got was that pop up from RoboKiller that said, ‘We took care of that call for you.'”  

RoboKiller acts like an invisible shield running in the background, blocking all the numbers in its database that have been reported as telemarketers or robocalls.

You can view a call log to see what numbers have called you and listen to any voicemail messages left.

“It’s using automation for good, empowering people, pushing back,” Rabinowitz said.

“It’s a pervasive problem,” FTC Do Not Call List Program Coordinator Ian Barlow said. “It’s our top complaint at the FTC.”

Barlow is based in Washington, D.C. He is the agency’s top litigator of robocall violators.

Barlow is the tip of the sword of the government’s fight against robocalls, and he is also a victim of them.

“I get them all the time, on my personal cell phone, and my FTC cell phone [laughs],” Barlow said. “They are after money, the IRS one wanting you to wire them money to resolve IRS debt, the tech support one that says, ‘Send us money so we can fix your problem.'”

Barlow says the federal government is aggressively going after the illegal robocallers hitting them with big fines.

“We’ve sued 458 businesses and 371 individuals in these cases, and we have actual collections of $121 million from winning these cases,” Barlow said.

Barlow says while robocall blocking apps are effective, there two other important actions you can take to help the feds battle robocalls.

“All consumers should sign up for the Do Not Call List, and if you get robocalls, report them to us,” Barlow said. “The more data we have, the better and can go after them.”  

Signing up for the Do Not Call List will block you from receiving the legal robocalls like the surveys, or political ads.

For the illegal calls, you can let an app be your digital guardian.

KRON4 does want to mention that the RoboKiller app is free to download but does require a monthly subscription to use.

LINKS FOR STORY

You can find information on the FCC’s efforts, including consumer tips and links to the most recent enforcement actions, here:  https://www.fcc.gov/robocalls  

You can file a complaint with the FCC if you believe you have received an illegal call or text. Click the tabs below for tips, FAQs and resources.-  https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=39744 

Sign up for do not call list –  https://donotcall.gov/

ROBOKILLER BLOCKING APP – https://www.robokiller.com/#

Noel Rabinowitz, Robocall App Blocker user, – Founder, SICKLUGGAGE https://sickluggage.com/    @sickluggage on social

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